Pirates, Ke’Bryan Hayes Agree To Eight-Year, $70MM Extension

The Pirates took a major step toward locking up their young core this afternoon, inking third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes to an eight-year, $70MM extension, reports Robert Murray of Fansided. The deal, which represents both the largest guarantee ever given to a player with between one and two years of service time and the largest deal ever handed out by the Pirates, will keep Hayes in Pittsburgh through at least 2029. It also includes a club option for the 2030 season, the terms of which are not yet clear. Hayes is represented by The Ballengee Group.

The deal buys out three years of the third baseman’s free agency, which would have arrived at the conclusion of the 2026 season barring an unforeseen demotion. Hayes, who is entering his age-25 season in 2022, will now remain under team control through his age-32 (or age-33, should the Pirates exercise his option) season. While he could still be in line for a solid payday at that point should he remain productive, today’s extension is likely to cover the great majority of his prime years — meaning that his $70MM guarantee is likely to constitute a majority of his career earnings.

Since being promoted to the big leagues midway through the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Hayes has been one of the few bright spots for a moribund Pirates franchise, slashing a world-beating .376/.442/.682 across 95 plate appearances across 24 games. His numbers came back to earth in 2021, perhaps as a result of an early-season wrist injury that held him out of action for roughly a third of the year and sapped him of much of his power. In his short career, Hayes has posted a .280/.340/.442 triple-slash while playing high-end defense at third, winning the 2021 Fielding Bible Award for third basemen (edging out Matt Chapman and Nolan Arenado

While keeping Hayes (the son of long-time big-leaguer Charlie Hayes) around for the long term is sure to promote some optimism within the long-suffering Pittsburgh fanbase, few expect the Bucs to contend in the immediate future. After losing 101 games in 2021, GM Ben Cherington hardly re-loaded in the offseason, trading for infielder Josh VanMeter and signing first baseman Daniel Vogelbach and outfielder Jake Marisnick to low cost free agent deals. The club does have a series of high-end prospects on the horizon, however, including recently optioned 6’7″ shortstop Oneil Cruz and right-hander Roansy Contreras, both of whom are likely to see big-league action sooner than later. Second base man Nick Gonzalez and righty Quinn Priest could also see the majors in 2022, while catcher Harry Ford is probably a year or two away.

More to come.

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